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ARTICLE: Shell MegaPack : Shell Browser Components and Controls for .Net, C#, VB.Net, MFC, VB, C++, Delphi and VBA

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Joined: 18 Jul 2005
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Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject: ARTICLE: Shell MegaPack : Shell Browser Components and Controls for .Net, C#, VB.Net, MFC, VB, C++, Delphi and VBA

Original article :

Shell MegaPack is a set of UI controls which gives drop-in Windows Explorer-like shell browsing functionality to your applications.

Components of Shell MegaPack
Shell MegaPack consists of the following components and controls :

FolderView Control
The FolderView control is a shell treeview control which shows a hierarchical display of folders on the computer similar to Windows Explorer. It is intended to replace the the awkward APIs and controls found in many programming languages. It is an excellent replacement for the SHBrowseForFolder API if you are using pure Windows API programming. Visual Basic developers can use it instead of the DirListBox control. For .Net programmers using C#, VB.Net or Managed C++ to developer Windows Forms applications, it is an excellent replacement for the FolderBrowserDialog, which is nothing but a managed wrapper around the SHBrowseForFolder API function. Many developers whip up a quick fix directorypicker or a browsefolderdialog or a FolderTree control which does not even display the proper icons for the folders. Trying to add anything more complicated than a simple hierarchical display of folders results in a rapid rise in the time required for development. Adding advanced features such as renaming, context menus, dragdrop, infotips become infeasible both in terms of cost and time. FolderView control is a good choice for developers in such a situation.

FileView Control
FileView control mimics the left hand side listview of Windows Explorer. It shows the files and folders on the system in Thumbnail View, Details View or GroupView as well as the normal list and large icon views. It features advanced functionality like item filtering, context menus, dragdrop, infotips, custom columns and custom items. It can be used as a replacement for the FileListBox or the Microsoft Common Dialog controls in VB. For Visual C++ MFC programmers, it can be used in place of the CFileDialog and C#, Visual Basic.Net and MC++ WinForms developers can use it as a substitute for the FileDialog .Net component.

ShComboBox Control
The ShComboBox Control allows you to add a Windows-Explorer-like drive-selection combobox to your application, showing all the drives, folders and even files exactly as Windows Explorer does. VB programmers can use it instead of the DriveListBox control. There is really no substitute for ShComboBox in either MFC or .Net.

ShellObjects is a collection of components and controls which bring various shell functionality to your applications:

The ShellAppBar component from ShellObjects makes it very easy to develop Quick Launch like appbars (application desktop toolbars) with complete autohide functionality, support for drag-docking and support for multi-monitor configurations. ShellAppbar makes it extremely easy to develop appbars. Simply put the ShellAppBar component on the form or dialog box and it is automatically converted into an appbar when it is loaded. ShellAppBar provides convenient properties for specifying the screen edge to which the appbar should be docked/anchored and to specify whether the appbar should be autohidden or visible all the time. Other properties allow you to specify whether resizing of appbars should be allowed, whether drag-docking (dragging an appbar to different edges of the screen to dock it to that edge) should be allowed and whether the appbar should always be on top of all other windows.

ShellPopupNotification control
This control allows you to display MSN and office 2003 style popup notifications from your application. Multiple popups can be displayed at once and the popups can be manually or automatically positioned according to your setting. Each shellpopup notification window looks like a balloon which can be used to notify the user of various events that occur in your application. The appearance, layout and contents of the popup can be completely controlled.

ShellNotifyIcon control
This control allows you to add icons in the shell's system tray notification area. It is an advanced replacement for the NotifyIcon component that comes with .Net or the CTrayIcon that is present in MFC. It has features like multiple images which can be used for animation or for indicating different states of your application, automatic popup context menus and balloon infotip styles.

ShellLink and URLLink
These components allow you to easily create, read and manipulate shortcut (shelllink - *.lnk) files or internet shortcut (*.url) from your applications.

This control allows you to display user-friendly system-standard progress dialogs while lengthy operations are performed.

This control allows you to display the new Vista 'task dialog' style message boxes from your applications

This control allows you to control the Windows Task Scheduler service and create, delete and modify tasks.

This control allows you to perform copy, move, delete and rename operations on multiple files/folders with progress dialog and sub-folder support.

This control allows you to quickly create a 'wizard' style navigable user interface consisting of multiple pages/steps.

This control allows you to add automatic resizing and resolution independence to your forms in a single step.

This control allows you to define and listen to system wide hotkeys.

This control allows you to get notified when a second instance of your application is started and optionally prevent it from running.

This control allows you to get notified when the system goes idle for a certain time and when it exits the idle state.

Flavors of Shell MegaPack

Shell MegaPack ActiveX
The ActiveX controls are compatible with a wide variety of programming languages and developing environments. They can be used in Visual Basic, Visual C++, Borland Delphi, Borland C++ Builder, Office VBA applications, HTML or ASP pages, dBase, Magic eDeveloper and Visual Interdev.

Shell MegaPack.Net
The .Net controls are compatible with Visual Studio.Net 2002, Visual Studio.Net 2003, Visual Studio.Net 2005 Beta 2, SharpDevelop and Borland Delphi.Net. They can be utilized in all .Net languages including C#, VB.Net, Managed C++ and J#.
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